#reverb10: I can't be without doing.

I signed up for this thing called #reverb10. A month full of prompts guided to help me reflect on this past year and focus on goals for the next.

December 1: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing, and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

One of the three main terms I used to describe myself is as a writer.  However, in a recent email discussion with Dani regarding my resume, I shouldn’t start off with me as a writer since that’s not where my focus is right now.  I can’t be a writer without writing.

I can’t be [something] without doing [something].

Now, I do indeed blog and have even written creatively some in the last month… But I don’t necessarily feel like a writer any more.  Everything has gotten in the way of that goal.  I’ve, yet again, put aside any attempts or dreams of getting my MFA in Creative Writing.  I’m not seeking out editing positions.  And well, let’s face it, I barely touched my NaNo story after the second week.  At most, I blog.

However, being a writer isn’t the be all-end all for me.  Who I am is much more than a writer.  If you read any description I write of myself, it always starts “Writer. Designer. Awesome Rock Star.” And it’s those three pieces that encompass who I am right now — or at least who I’m trying to be.  The simple fact is, I’m still being creative.  Hell, I’m getting paid for it.  In my opinion, working on any creative project, whether it’s the main task at hand or not, is still being creative.  Creative productivity of any kind is still productivity.  I still see it as moving forward.

Writing will always be a part of who I am.  I don’t see this shift of focus to be of any harm because it’s still a creative focus.  Come 5, 10 years down the road, I still hope to describe myself by those three attributes — whether I’m still a designer, a writer, or if I’ve opened up my own cafe & bar/venue combo that’s been a not-so secret dream of mine.

I’m a writer, designer, and an awesome rock star.  Who are you?

oh, you have my heart

There are days, when I just look around, soak it all in… and this wave runs over me….

I live in Chicago.

I love this city.  If I’m ever bored, it’s my own fault.  I don’t have to worry about the expense of a car — though, yes, it can be limiting…  But I live in Chicago.

I’m applying to a couple schools outside of the city, out of the state… It would be really hard to leave, but it would only be temporary… at most a trial separation…

…because right now I can’t get over how awesome it is that I live in Chicago.

a man and his bike: the mennojerk returns

My friend Neal is unemployed and homeless.  And he’s currently embarking on a 10,000 mile journey across the country, touching each of the lower 48 states.  All on his bike.  In six months.  Crazy?  Awesome?  … or just crazy awesome.

Neal and I met about five years ago (ish) in college.  It was the start of the spring semester, I had just returned from China and he had just transferred to GC that fall.  He’s a former ruby player (the “Neal was a hooker” jokes never got old), previously did about 3-4 years majoring in the sciences, only to transfer to Goshen, become a bible major and occasionally wear a skirt*.

Something instantly struck me about Neal.  And I’ve got to say he gives some of the best hugs out there.  But since we graduated, oh, three years ago, we haven’t really kept in touch.  He became an RD at a small Mennonite college in Kansas, and well, I’ve been doing the Chicago thing.  And now?  Now he’s doing this crazy awesome bike trip all while promoting the Mennonite Disaster Service.

Last night, as part of his break in Chicago, he swung by my place and visited for a while.  Shared some stories from the road.  He’s been to 26 states now, as well as DC and a bit of Canada.  He’s completed the entire Eastern time zone.  But now he’s got all those big states left.  About 2/3 of his journey.

You can follow Neal’s journey on his blog: cycleMDS
or on Facebook: Cycling for Mennonite Disaster Service group
If he comes through your area, you should join him for a little bit of the ride.  He’d enjoy that.

*Neal in a skirt.  (And the WGCS shirt I tie-died and gave him.)

A handful of men at GC decided to wear skirts one day.  Thought it’d be funny or something.  Discovered how comfortable it is, and well, some of them continued to wear skirts.

jobs I would rock:

  • anything that involves InDesign & Photoshop
    (I can give you a list of people who’ve called me a genius at those programs)
  • writer. (Duh.)
  • mythbuster assistant. (LN2, explosions, nerdiness, science! = awesome)
  • event planner & coordinator (even in terms of marketing & PR, et cetera)
  • associate producer/editor (or editorial assistant) -> print/program director
  • interior designer (ish)
  • book + paper arts artist
  • educator:
    – wildlife
    – creative writing (after my MFA; possibly literature, depends on after my degree)
    -communications (media stuffs, journalism, pr, broadcast stuffs. need a faculty adviser? me.)
    – social media, internets, blogging, basic design for web
    – book + paper arts
  • cupcake expert
  • blogger. (another: Duh.)

That’s the smallish list I created last night.  The majority of these are obtainable in some way or another.  And a lot of them are really more than jobs, they can be careers.  But most importantly, I can definitely and confidently say that three of those bullet points involve very strong, deep rooted passions.  (I’m going to go a head and make them bold and pink. — if you’re wondering about the first, it’s because it holds true to “strive to do something creative every day”, plus I rock those programs and thoroughly love working with them.)

Now there are two others I could have thrown in there but that fraction of hesitation to include them in that first batch kept me from doing that.  (Which is why they’re just bold.)

Anyway.  The main point is that a lot of these are obtainable.  Meaning I need to get off my complacent butt and get working towards these.  I don’t hate the toy store, but it’s not the right place for me — and I’m starting to feel that every time I’m there.  I am grateful for the job and the promotion, but the reality is I don’t want to stay in retail long term (or even through the next holiday season) and even though I did get a good raise, I’m really not earning enough.

Even though I’m generally exhausted (which, yes, the toy store is a large factor there), I’ve got to actively be working to start doing something I love.  I mean, yes, I’m am indeed throwing this out to the universe hoping to speed up the process.  But I can’t just put this on my blog and hope something just magically falls in my lap (or inbox).*

So.  Here’s to it.  I’m not happy in my current situation.  So I need to do something about it.  Let’s see how this goes.

*Although don’t let that stop you.  You should totally hire me — just contact me (erini {at} erinichristine {dot} com) and we can talk, you can check out my portfolio**, we can meet over cupcakes.  Trust me.  I’m awesome.
**Unfortunately a lot of my writing and design was lost… bad archiving systems.  But you want a sample that relates to your business, just ask and I’ll show you want I can do.

A call to all of those who are Absolutely Amazing & Awesome:

Yesterday, my beautiful friend, Lovely Anomaly and I decided to start a club. One that welcomes all, and whose sole purpose is spreading self-affirmation and celebrating one’s own amazingness and awesomeness.

This is how it went down:
Lovely: We should start a new club. Triple A. Absolutely Amazing & Awesome.
And thus it was. (Okay, there was more conversation after that… but that’s how it was created.)

We want you to realize that yes you are indeed Absolutely Amazing & Awesome. We believe that you need to see that in yourself before you can go out and conquer the world.

So, are you Absolutely Amazing & Awesome? Join Us!
All you need to do is ask. Or really, just let us know in some form. (The only reason Lovely and I say ask is because we absolutely love affirming people’s awesomeness and saying “YES! You’re in!”) You can find us on twitter at @lovelyanomaly and @erinichristine. We want to know who you are! We want to join you in celebrating the amazing and awesome person that you are.

As this club grows, trust us, they’ll be some amazing & awesome things in store. (I mean, of course!) For now though, tweet us! Let us know that yes, you are indeed Absolutely Amazing & Awesome. And if you’ve got a site, we’ve got a little treat for you:

Use these to let others know. (And please link back to this post so others can join too!)

It’s not being cocky, it’s celebrating you for all that you are. (But be forewarned, we won’t stand for douchebaggery or any sort of tyrant bitchery. But this is an honor code system.)

So, ask yourself, are you Absolutely Amazing & Awesome?

The Official Triple-A Twitter List
*Also, if you can’t see the code for the graphics in your rss reader, you’ll have to view the actual blog post.

Enthused? Try Elated.

Remember how I said my Saturday night was going to be amazing?  Well, it was.

When Rachel asked me to co-host a Nintendo Wii Fit Plus party I: squealed, giggled, did a little dance, then said YES.  I have had only one other Nintendo Enthusiast experience — an absolutely amazing dinner during BlogHer that I am still ever so grateful to have been a part of.  However, after meeting the Brand About Town ladies at BlogHer who wouldn’t want to take part in anything they’ve got a hand in?

Anyway.  Time flew and before I knew it, the day had come for Rachel, myself, the awesome folks from the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus team, and a great group of lovely ladies to gather for a super evening.

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Look! My name’s on a sign!

We learned about the features of the Wii Fit Plus — customizing my routine? Thank you!  The new games? Sweet.  Multi-player? Bring it.  Profiles for my kitties? I love you.  After doing a customized routine we were set loose — each of us at our own station.  We played games, tried different yoga poses, snacked on yummy things (their fruit smoothies — amazing!) and had some wine…

I could do this every day.  Gather with awesome friends in a swanky studio in the West Loop, actually enjoy getting fit? Yes please!  The evening did have to end though, and thanks to Brand About Town and Nintendo, we all left with our own Wii Fit Plus and fabulous Wii Fit Plus jackets!

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Learning some basic yoga techniques

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check out my awesome pose, and tights

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Erin enjoying the routines!

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Leah doing what I like to call “Math Butt Bump”

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Leah’s cousin Karina navigating the Segway course

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Rachel and I

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Modeling our jackets

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A handful of the lovely ladies in our new jackets!

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Thank you Nintendo & Brand About Town!

Again, a big thanks to all the ladies who came out!  It was a blast meeting new Chicago gals and hanging out with some of my great friends!  Can’t wait to hear about your experience with the Wii Fit Plus!


Today was Day 3 of my Wii Fit Plus routine.  I love it.  I can tell I’m getting better to since yesterday my Wii Fit age was 33 and now it’s 20.  Who rocks? Oh yea, that’d be me.

Aural-gasm: My Gold Mask giveaway winner!

Congratulations, again – My Gold Mask


I’ll be mailing off a Limited Edition self-titled My Gold Mask cassette tape with download card to Chelsea soon — which knowing the postal system at this time of year, it might actually reach her for Christmas.

Congrats to  Chelsea and thanks to everyone who entered!  I plan on doing more Aural-gasm giveaways in the future with a variety of bands and musicians who are in various stages of their careers.  Mostly I want to keep sharing music with everyone.

*Winner was selected via a random number generator at random.org.

unmentionables: (where I talk about my underwear, again.)

I like underwear. Let’s just get that out there in the open. I also have a lot. A lot. And a variety too. But most fall into the “fun” category with the next being “sexy”, then others which, well, honestly are for “womanly times of the month”. (What? You other women know you have those pairs too! We all keep them hidden away until we need them, but we’ve all got them!)

Anyway. When I go out, I tend to put some sort of thought behind my underwear selection. I tend to pick my panties based on a few factors:

  • mood
  • location/where I’m going/what I’ll be doing
  • people/who I might see

Or a combination of any or all of those. Regardless, I don’t just reach in a drawer and pull out a pair. (I keep mine in a basket in my closet.)

A lot of times, my choices go unappreciated by anyone other than myself. But it still makes me feel good/confident/sexy every time I pick out a pair. Even more so when I match it with one of the few sexy bras I’ve got. (Hey, they’re more expensive. Or at least good ones are, which is what I’ll choose for 98% of the time.)

I guess it’s just a bonus if someone else gets to enjoy it too.

*I may or may not have been wearing this combination at some point which may or may not have been tonight…

Aural-gasm: My Gold Mask giveaway.

I cannot live without music.

Okay. Hyperbole. But I seriously never want to attempt to live without music.

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll notice there’s two bands in particular I’ve been talking about a lot the past year.  Both of them are Chicago bands comprised of absolutely amazing musicians.  I have so much love for these bands, it simply cannot be contained.  Therefore, I’ve decided to have a giveaway so that I can share some of my love for one of the bands with you.

Aural-gasm: My Gold Mask

As my treat to you, in what is the first of hopefully a great collection of Aural-gasm giveaways, is kicking it off with not only one of my favorite Chicago bands, but one of my favorite bands of all time: My Gold Mask.

This two-person kick ass ensemble is hauntingly beautiful; the combination of Gretta’s vocals and percussion, along with Jack’s guitar (and also his complimenting vocals) is… well, perfect.  I haven’t found any other group quite like them.  Top it off with the duo being just simply awesome people — seriously, I love going to shows not only to hear them, but because I enjoy spending time with them too.

So, what do you get?

1- My Gold Mask cassette tape.
It’s their self-titled album. Limited edition. Seriously, it’s numbered.  (You’re getting #71/100.)

2 –My Gold Mask download card.
because some people might not have a cassette player…

What you need to do…
(only #1 is required. the rest are optional suggestions for more entries.)

1- leave a comment.
tell me about one of your favorite local bands, if you don’t have one… then your favorite band you wish everyone knew about, even if it means sharing them.

2- tweet about it.  .. then leave a comment.
tweet about a band you stumbled upon accidentally and fell in love with, or any other music related post. And yeah, I’d like it if you linked back to this post.

3- donate to any charity of your choosing, even if for another contest, and again, leave a comment.
Honor system guys. Just let me know which charity, and why too if you want but it’s not necessary.  And you know what, you get 5 more entries for this.

I’m going to put everyone’s name into a spreadsheet, and make it available in google docs, then use that number picker generator thing other people have used for contests to pick a winner.  Your first comment without any other actions counts as one, you can tweet up to twice a day about it, and donate as many times as you want.

You have until (US) Thanksgiving – midnight (CST).  I’ll announce a winner the following Monday.

I’m thankful for awesome music, by stellar people who are genuinely great and truly talented.  I’m thankful for friends who introduce me to new bands, and who inspire me to pay it forward.  Hopefully you’ll do the same and we can keep sharing some amazing music.

Just so you can get a taste of them, I’ll be posting some videos from their most recent concert this weekend (or feel free to click on their tag for previous concert videos)…


the boring stuff… the cassette tape and download card were purchased at a discounted rate for the sole purpose of this giveaway.  I do indeed have consent from the band to do this giveaway as well.